Blockchain technologies, once used exclusively for buying and selling bitcoins, have entered the mainstream of computer applications, fundamentally changing the way Internet transactions can be implemented by ascertaining trust between unknown parties. In addition, they ensure immutability (once information is entered it cannot be modified) and enable disintermediation (as trust is assured, no third party is required to verify transactions). These advantages can produce disruptive changes when properly exploited, inspiring a large number of applications. These applications are forming the backbone of what can be called the Internet of Value, bound to bring as significant changes as those brought over the last 20 years by the traditional Internet. This chapter investigates blockchain and the technologies behind it and explains their technological might and outstanding potential, not only for transactions but also as distributed databases. It also discusses its future prospects and the disruptive changes it promises to bring, while also considering the challenges that would need to be overcome for its widespread adoption. Finally, the chapter considers combining blockchain with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and discusses the revolutionary changes that would result by rapidly advancing the AI field.
Part of the book: Artificial Intelligence